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Crime and punishment

70-year-old woman wanted for allegedly organizing drug deal-style ginseng heist, police say

By: Tony Thomas, WSBTV.com

GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. –

Duluth, Georgia, police are looking for an unusual theft suspect – a 70-year-old woman.

Police told WSB-TV’s Tony Thomas she’s accused of organizing a drug deal-style heist to get back at a former business partner.

Duluth police say two cars backed up to each other just behind a calming fountain at the Park Village shopping center to complete a deal for 20 pounds of ginseng.

“They were parked sort of next to each other with a scale in the middle,” said Officer Ted Sadowski.

The victim told police he didn’t know the woman who had called him up, responding to a Korean newspaper ad, but he thought she was a legitimate customer.

In reality, police say she was an accomplice of 70-year-old Young Sook Lee.

“When the ginseng was being taken out and weighed, he would then put it into the suspects’ vehicle,” Sadowski said.

But as the accomplice distracted the victim, police say surveillance video shows Lee getting out of a nearby car, and then driving away with the accomplice, stealing the eight bags of ginseng.

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“The victim then gets into his car and chases them throughout the parking lot. It looked sort of like a little police chase but with citizens’ cars,” Sadowski said.

Investigators say because of surveillance video, they were able to get a tag number from the getaway car and link it to Lee. They’ve issued a theft warrant for the 70-year-old Duluth woman, but police say she’s avoided officers every time they’ve gone to arrest her.

Police believe Lee targeted the victim because she had lost money in a prior deal. They suspect she sold the ginseng, likely overseas, to make up for the lost cash.

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